Big Ed, the school teacher, came in on Saturday afternoon, which was very unusual for him. He always waits until after dark to have his pint. I could see that he was looking sort of thoughtful so when I filled a glass for him I asked if anything was the matter.
“No, not really. It’s just that I just saw something strange.”
“That’s not surprising, around here. It wasn’t Pete, was it?”
“Hah, no. I said strange, not scary. I’ve been out delivering notices for the elementary school book fair, going door to door reminding everyone about how important the fund raiser is. I’ve got these fliers I’m giving out. Here’s some for you.
Anyway, you know little Alex Suttles, don’t you?”
“I think so, lives over on Fairhurst, doesn’t he?”
“That’s right, he’s one of my students. Well, I rang his doorbell a couple of times and was about to leave when his brother Tommy opened the door. Tommy’s about 12, and George, he was standing there in a green velvet evening gown that came down past his knees and high heel shoes that were too big for him. He had on a curly blond wig that I’m sure I’ve seen his mother wear and to top it off he had a martini in his hand. I was so stunned I forgot what I was going to say and wound up stammering, 'Uh, is your mother at home, Tommy?'
He giggled and took a sip of his drink and said, 'Oh, Mr. Maples, what do you think?'
Then he closed the door, laughing."
I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind all evening.
Another interesting thing happened a little later. A few more of the regulars wandered in and we were having one of those rambling bar conversations that jumps from one topic to another. Somehow the subject of bananas came up and Big Ed mentioned that Cuban bananas were small and red and sweeter than the yellow Johnson variety that we get here in the US. I had never heard them referred to as Johnson bananas but a light bulb suddenly came on in my head and I immediately understood something. I said, “Ooooh…” at the very same time that four others said it. Realizing that we had all made the same connection we looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Marion asked, “What’s so funny? Why’s everbody laughing? I don’t get it?”
I said, “Marion, I’ll tell you later. Or better yet, ask your mother.”